Robe DigitalSpots for Strictly Come Dancing Final & Xmas Special

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LD Mark Kenyon wanted some new and extra special effects for the hugely anticipated final of the BBC's latest “Strictly Come Dancing” series ….. and decided it was the ideal opportunity to try Robe DigitalSpot 7000DTs.

The Final drew huge ratings, and Kenyon was so impressed with the results from the DigitalSpots – which brought a new look to the dancefloor, filling it with subtle but effective texturing, movement and colour - that he then kept them on for the Christmas Special edition.

Kenyon first saw the units in action at one of Robe's “The Future is Digital” Roadshows in London, which he attended along with moving light operator and Catalyst (digital media server) programmer Roger Williams at the behest of Lee House from AC Video, a division of AC Entertainment Technologies specialising in digital lighting and convergence products.

After this, Kenyon decided that he could make good use of 6 DigitalSpot 7000DTs to illuminate and add extra treatments to the dancefloor of Studio TC1 at the BBC's Wood Lane HQ in West London.

The DT7000s were rigged 12 metres up in the roof of the studio and run via ArtNet protocol back to a CompuLite Vector console in the control room, operated by Roger Williams (for the Final) and Dave Bishop (the Xmas Special). They took full advantage of the DigitalSpot's versatile Picture Merge facility, and edge-blended all 6 units together to produce a 9 metre by 20 metre wide image on the dancefloor.

Robe UK's Nathan Wan tech'd the shows. Approximately 60Gb of video clips plus the Strictly Come Dancing logo were uploaded to the media servers in the unit's heads.

Kenyon wanted the DT7000 effects to be interesting but understated rather than too in-the-face or overpowering in a show already action-packed with lighting and LED effects to match the glamour and glitz of the occasion.

Says Kenyon, “I'm really happy with the DigitalSpots, and hope to use them again in the near future with more time to create bespoke content. It was an excellent effect being able to make the logo appear and disappear on the dancefloor, and the fixtures were quick and simple to set up. They updated with the new content, synched and worked flawlessly throughout both shows”.

He adds that he thinks the LED modules on the DigitalSpots are “Fantastic”, enabling him to cover the whole dancefloor area effortlessly just with the 6 fixtures up in the grid.

Strictly Come Dancing 2008 was directed by Nikki Parsons and executive produced by Sam Donnelly and Martin Scott, with Helen Bishop production managing. Mark Kenyon has lit the show for all 6 of its series over the last 5 years.

The 2008 final was won by Holby City star Tom Chambers and his partner Camilla Dallerup, who beat off strong competition from Rachel Stevens and Vincent Simone and Lisa Snowdon and Brendon Cole in the most nail-biting finish to date.

Former Strictly contestants Jill Halfpenny, Kelly Brook and Alesha Dixon joined this year's finalists for the festive dance-off broadcast on Christmas Day.

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